When you drive by the 802 Toyota dealership in Berlin, Vermont, you might just see tips of the solar photovoltaic panels peeking up from the roofline of their new building, but only if you look closely. Don’t be fooled, there is more there than meets they eye. Their array of PV’s is quite impressive, if you get to see it. But, as more than one person has commented, it is out of sight.
The dealership has installed a 62.4 kW solar array, which is set to go online about the 15th of December, on the roof of its new building. The expectation is that they will make the dealership electrically neutral, supplying about the same amount of electricity to the grid, when it has excess, as it gets from the grid, when it needs to draw power. This is especially nice, because solar cells provide power during the mid-day and afternoon, during the peak demand time. The 260 panels were made by Sharp in the US.
The new building is a lot more going on to make it environmentally friendly than a solar garden on the roof. Work on the dealership’s site began at the level of the soil, even before the building construction began. The site had been used by automotive businesses for decades, and was heavily polluted. 802 Toyota had it cleaned up and the contaminants removed so the site could be clean.
When the previous building was taken down, about 70% of its materials were removed for reuse and recycling. This cut the amount of material going to landfills, and reused the embodied energy of the old materials. Green building materials used for construction included both recycled materials and environmentally friendly products and finishes.
The building itself uses waste oil in special burners for heat, eliminating more waste since oil is much worse for the environment than the carbon dioxide it burns into. Low flow water fixtures were used where possible.
Skylights and daylight sensors cut electricity needed for lighting to a minimum. When electric lights are needed, their use is extremely efficient, because all the site lighting is done by LED’s. The interior light power density is 0.81 watts/SF, and the LED lights are expected to save $3517 per year.
Among the many thoughtful features the 802 Toyota dealership has provided are special parking spaces for plug-in vehicles, where they can be recharged.
DEW Construction Corp. is the Design/Builder and Wiemann Lamphere is the architect for the project. The project was done to meet Efficiency Vermont’s certification standards.
The solar installer is:
the Melanson company, inc.
353 West St.
Keene, NH 03431